Mani , the groundsman who touched so many lives

He was one of the first faces you would see when stepping into Wisma FAM Kelana Jaya.

Manimaran or simply Mani, though some even gave him a nickname Mike, breathed his last at the very place he had spent most of his short life, at Wisma FAM this morning.

An infectious smile, a vibrant person, so innocent to then tons of politicking around him daily, Manimaran only had one focus – to do his best as groundsman at Wisma FAM.

He ensure that the field was kept in good condition for the various national squads and loved his job immensely,

Over 30 years he served FAM, but his loyalty never wavered, serving every Secretary General and President, many smitten by his simple ness and honesty.

I first met him during my stint at FAM in 2005 and was impressed by his cheer hard work and honesty,

Never one to say no, Mani would carry out the responsibilities with a smirk on his face, no matter how tough the task was.

He always wanted to be a Kit Man for one of the national teams, and I gave him his break in 2006 with the national olympic squad then coached by B. Sathianathan.

Mani went with the team to South Africa, and when I last bumped into him during my final visit to Wisma FAM on July 16, two days after the new President was installed, it was Mani that I met at the lobby,

“ Boss, apa macam,” was his remark.

When I asked him if he could take me to the 4th floor to see the President, Mani readily obliged.

And to the others in the lobby he quipped ,” Ini lah boss saya Yang hantar saya pergi Afrika dulu.”

Such was his gratitude that he was still appreciative of something he deserved some 12 years ago.

Mani was a nice individual, never one to say anything absurd or hold any grudges.

If there was something I learnt from him, then it was honesty,

Many a time after office hours he will wander into my second floor office to sit and chat.

And his words still ring in my ears

“ We need to work to earn a living but in order to live, we need to work honestly. Once people lose faith in us, we lose our desire to live.”

Rest In Peace dear Friend, you were a simple person yet you touched so many lives with your simple approach,

You will be missed but you will always be remembered.